Everything Will Be All Right

A Novel

Tessa Hadley

Henry Holt and Co.

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The profoundly different choices of a mother and her daughter infuse this rich, expansive novel with both intimate detail and wide resonance

When Joyce Stevenson is thirteen, her family moves to the south of England to live with their aunt Vera. Joyce's mother, Lil, is a widow; Vera has a husband who keeps his suits in the wardrobe but spends evenings at another house nearby. While the two sisters couldn't be more different-Vera, a teacher, has unquestioning belief in the powers of education and reason; Lil puts her faith in séances-they work together to form a tight-knit family.

Joyce sees that there is something missing in their lives: men. She doesn't want to end up like her aunt Vera, rejected by her husband. Joyce discovers art at school: she falls in love with the Impressionists and, eventually, with one of her teachers. In spite of the temptations of the sixties, she is determined to make her marriage and motherhood a success. When Joyce's daughter, Zoe, grows up and has a baby of her own, however, she proves to be impatient with domestic life and chooses a dramatically different path.

Spanning five decades of extraordinary changes in women's lives, Everything Will Be All Right explores the complicated relationships of a family. The young ones of each generation are sure that they can correct the mistakes of their parents; the truth, of course, is more opaque. Intricate and insightful, Everything Will Be All Right firmly establishes Tessa Hadley among the great contemporary observers of the human mind and heart.

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Book Excerpts

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From Everything Will Be All Rightt :

Zoe studied her face with concentration in the mirror. She was forty-three. There must have been changes over the past couple of years, only she hadn't had time to take them in until today: a leaching of color from her skin and hair, perhaps; a loss of resilience, so that the little lines didn't spring back when she stopped grimacing. She worried now, when it was presumably too late, that she had never used anti-wrinkle cream or taken vitamins. Joyce spent at least half an hour in front of her mirror every day, "getting ready.

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Praise for Everything Will Be All Right

"Her gift as a writer is so considerable that her characters' revelations and predicaments linger in the mind long after her narrative has darted of in other directions."
--Alice Traux, The New York Times Book Review
"This may sound formulaic, the stuff of bad women's magazines, but in author Tessa Hadley's hands it's anything but."
--Carolyn See, The Washington Post Book World
"Hadley has written gorgeous contradictions and harmonious and inharmonious interactions into a warm novel that follows the contours of four generations of a family and, in the end, shows us ourselves."
--Gretchen Gurujal, Associated Press
"Complex, intelligent...expertly captures the texture of daily existence and the struggle of three memorable women to make their way in the world."
--Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads


About the Author

Tessa Hadley

Tessa Hadley teaches literature and creative writing at Bath Spa University College. Her first novel, Accidents in the Home, which was excerpted in The New Yorker, was longlisted for The Guardian's First Book Award. She lives in Cardiff, Wales.

Tessa Hadley


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Available Formats and Book Details

Everything Will Be All Right
A Novel
Tessa Hadley

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
November 2004
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466829558
ISBN10: 1466829559
320 pages

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
November 2004
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312423643
ISBN10: 0312423640
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 320 pages

From The Publisher

Henry Holt and Co.

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